Bill Gates' 'Personal Agent' project for Microsoft might be called Office Now

Microsoft is currently developing a personal assistant app for Windows, iOS and Android called Office Now. The features of this app sound very similar to something that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently mentioned he was working on with the company, which he called "Personal Agent".

Gates mentioned this as part of his Reddit AMA session earlier this year:

"One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to. The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model - the agent will help solve this. It will work across all your devices."

Based on the screenshots and description posted by Neowin on Office Now, it sounds very similar to Gates' "Personal Agent".

"The app makes it easy to schedule meetings, quickly find emails that are directed specifically at you, get directions to a meeting, join a conference call and similar tasks. By opening the app, you get an 'executive summary' of your day which includes a high level look at your meetings for the day: if the meetings are back to back, if they are they require you to travel to them and how long it will take to get there too."

Office now

The app will also reportedly give users an alert if a meeting's time or date has been changed or cancelled. As with all of the unreleased Microsoft apps that have been revealed this week, there's no word on when, or even if, Office Now might be released.

Source: Neowin

43 Comments
  • But Cortana is there na
  • My thoughts too.
  • And how is this different from the calendar app?
  • Redundant tbh.
  • Billlllllllllllllll
  • Seems a bit redundant with Cortana already here or am I missing something?
  • Probably because of the outrage of the fans they are just offering office now.
  • Interesting, i guess that would make sense.
  • So Office Now is a business Cortana?
  • That is how I take it too.
  • Cortana For Office ©
  • I'd still prefer Cortana..
  • Just give Cortana those feature, or will they just ignore Cortana now because it's a WP feature? Great...
  • Wtf
  • It is also a windows 10 feature. It will be hard to ignore as it is one one of the selling points of windows 10.
  • why? what's wrong with Cortana?
  • It must be.
  • It's more towards the company model..all may not be interested in chit chat etc things like Cortana...
  • Another overlap would be some of what groupme does aswell
  • I think 'Cortana for Business' would be an even better name, and it would ship with Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.
  • Nope. All these virtual assistants to for passing time mostly. U won't engage those things in business. If you know business to business users they won't all the way download Cortana in their devices. The term office now seems good. It will be integrated with Microsoft office and office and 365 users will get in this feature into this use.
  • Virtual assistants appear to be "for passing time only" because only their voice interactions are advertised. You can operate Cortana without voice, and it still can look up stuff on your calendar or flight information, remind you about stuff, etc. As it is already capable of looking through your email, it works exactly as the thing Gates envisioned.
  • I still think this would make sense as a "Cortana for Business," especially since Cortana is supposed to be the Windows personal assistant. It wouldn't need to have all the chit chat and whatnot that comes with normal Cortana, but I imagine it builds on a lot of the same architecture as Cortana anyway.
  • I don't think anyone can see this as a separate entity from Cortana. The project is basically making Cortana more advanced.
  • You can currently go into OWA and have it send you a text anytime a meeting is scheduled, moved or deleted along with any specific people (boss, high level managers, important people) sending you an email. Plus in the morning it will send you a text with your days agenda. Over Bluetooth, in the car on the way to work in the morning is now I have mine set up. What is being described here is much more than this of course.
  • is it just me or does bill look more and more like emporer palpatine as he gets older. He even got the pinky look around the eyes. Give him dark robes and take off the glasses and BAM we got ourselfs a full blown master of the dark arts
  • This is more like having a secretary on the phone then a voice command assistant that act after you ask and is basically a web search engine
  • Hi, it looks like you are trying to type a letter...
  • Aren't these supposed to be features of Cortana anyway..
  • Why also for android and IOS ?
  • Cortana is tied to Windows. Office Now is tied to Office. Remember that office is cross-platform. I see this as a way that Microsoft will bring Cortana-like assistant features to other platforms. Over time, I imagine that the lines between all of these services will blur even more as functionality gets tied into Microsoft's cloud platform.
  • Wasn't there a rumour some time ago that Cortana would go cross-platform. I would say Office Now for Cortana, bringing her new features and making her cross-platform. ​  
  • There has been a rumor and still is but I thought Microsoft recently said they had no plans to bring cortana to other platforms right now. I could be wrong. I know spartan falls into that right now as well.  I think both will go to iOS and Android within a year after launch but I think Microsoft has directed attention away from those for the time being. 
  • Cortana is not just tied to Windows.  It's tied to the entire Microsoft ecosystem AND third-party apps.  I think Office Now is supposed to compliment Cortana... BUT the fact that this was never 'officially announced' means they might integrate it into Cortana (which would make sense to keep Cortana as the company's personal assistant brand).
  • Hmm
  • In order to avoid confusion Cortana will be renamed as MSN Now.
  • Sounds similar to what IBM is doing with their new offering Verse
  • I can see where some thing this is like Cortana, but to me, it seems to have the possibility to have more features.  I've always wanted an app that can essentially take all of my meta data, allow me to record voice/text/etc. notes, time/date stamp it, and be able to tag it (or even better, find a way to auto-tag it properly) so when I have to recall an idea, I can recall everything in periphery to the idea.   If I was a good developer, I would have probably worked out making cortana take the notes, put them into onenote, tag them appropriately, so I can recall things on demand.
  • BOB LIVES!
  • Where is the office?? Edge??? Got a critical update
    ..
  • very good person for me
  • So what was Cortana supposed to be then?
  • Well, to start with its still beta, and also it is available for perhaps 0.25% of all world countries. To me this means it is basically nothing.